Fresh Takes Opinion — 07 November 2014

You just elected a bunch of terrible human beings to the United States Congress, America.

Congratulations. You did it.

You made sure last night’s midterm election sucked. Despite all kinds of real measurable progress we’ve made as a nation in the the last six years, you decided to turn the clock back.

You decided to hand the reins of the country back to the people who are against gay rights, common sense drug reform and limiting corporate money in politics.

Not to mention the many other toxic policies they champion.

I look forward to watching the next two years of your guys and gals doing their best to limit personal freedom, repeal a law which provides affordable healthcare to millions of people and generally just act like entitled, intellectually bankrupt jerks.

I’ve got my popcorn ready.

Anyway, surprisingly, last night was not all bad. My home state, California, pretty much killed it and there were some scattered bright spots in the electoral results all around this great country.

Let’s take a look at those.

— I’m still bitter that California wasn’t the first state to the take the long overdue step of legalizing marijuana, but we’ll have another shot in 2016 and the results last night were more than encouraging. Oregon, Washington DC and Alaska joined the party and legalized sale and recreational use of the sticky icky.

According to fivethirtyeight.com 17.6 million people now live where pot is legal. 156.8 million people live where it’s allowed for either medical use or has been decriminalized. Cool, man.

— Speaking of one of history’s biggest failures, the “Drug War,” well it looks like drugs are winning. California passed Proposition 47 which essentially has reclassified six categories of felony personal use drug possession and theft crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. This will lead to less crowded prisons and hopefully more drug treatment as opposed to incarcerations.

— It was a good night for my county’s infrastructure as Measure BB passed with two points over the required supermajority in Alameda County. BART may finally, finally, finally make it to Livermore. I’m still in the “I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it” mode on this, but it now seems closer than ever. Could be good news for enrollment at LPC. I’m in favor of updating all the infrastructure.

— California re-elected good old Governor Moonbeam, Jerry Brown to a historic fourth term in office. I was skeptical that he would be just another tired old retread when we elected him to office in 2010, but by and large California is in the best shape it has been in in decades. The educational system, not so much, but as long as the state keeps growing, hopefully that will be in the cards.

— Irony is awesome. 17 states will raise their minimum wages in the next few years. Four states (very red states) voted to raise theirs last night. A liberal idea, championed by red states during a “wave” of Republican electoral victories. America is a crazy ironic place sometimes.

— Anyone who watched Senator-elect Joni Ernst’s cackling victory speech knows that these conservatives will overreach in the wake of this election. They’ll keep trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They’ll press for more tax cuts for the rich. They’ll appeal to their fundamentalist religious base and try to roll back civil rights.

I know these people, I’ve been dealing with them my entire life. It’s a hallmark of the conservative mind to feel deep down that they are God’s gift to the world and anyone who disagrees with them is either an idiot or the Devil.

By and large they have no sense of irony and only think of one thing — themselves.

They’d rather be wrong and get their way than wrong and somehow help other people.

They’ll perceive these victories as a mandate. But once the rubber hits the road and they try to ram their confused, pig-headed ideologies down the throats of the American people again, we’ll all remember that there is another election upcoming in 2016. A presidential election. The elections that Democrats actually show up for.

I’ve got my popcorn ready — let’s see what you got, Republicans.

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